Essential Boating Equipment
United States law requires a boat owner to have at least basic essential boating equipment onboard at all times; and a cooler of beer is not considered “essential”. But basic safety equipment is, and a boat owner can be heavily fined if these basic tools and articles are not aboard.
The fines are only a minor reason for having these essentials onboard, however; there are safety and often survival issues involved. The following checklist will ensure that you have all of the necessary boating equipment.
The Federal Requirements for Boating Gear are:
- Registration Papers. You must have the vessel’s state registration/documentation at all times. Also, have a photo ID of the boat’s owner or operator just in case.
- Life Jackets. Required for each person onboard. Have extras for people of all ages and sizes.
- “Throwable” Flotation Device. Required If your boat is 16 feet or larger.
- Fire Extinguisher. Any boat with an enclosed engine and/or fuel tank must carry a fully charged Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher.
- Visual Distress Signals. Necessary for both day and night outings; check their expiration date before sailing.
- Navigation Lights. Required for any power boat after sunset. Check federal laws for specific requirements.
- Horn or Whistle.
- Flame Arrestor. Required on all powered boats.
Helpful Boating Gear:
- First Aid Kit with sunscreen and ointment.
- Tool Kit with flashlight and spare batteries.
- Bilge Pump, Marine Radio, Charts, Compass, Drinking Water and Snacks.
And of course, keep your boat maintained even when moored. A quality canvas covering for your boat from CVC Canvas LLC, will keep your boat protected, and ready to sail.